I found the best way was to go into fdisk, remove all partitions including primary then create a new primary partition & then whatever program you are using to format will recognise the hard disk & format for you. However as powerless correctly points out you WILL lose everything on your hard disk.
I may have misunderstood the thread I read on this, but I feel sure I read somewhere, that once a drive has been formated to NTFS with winXP then the disk itself, (Win XP,that is), will not recognise fat 32!
It said something along the lines of. The xp CD will not allow you to choose fat32 once NTFS had been taken as an option, even though you may format your hard drive, on inserting the xp CD it will only give NTFS as an option! J.
Restrictions on Converting NTFS Partitions to FAT or FAT32
NTFS is a more advanced file system than FAT and FAT32. Therefore, depending on the NTFS features used on the partition, the type of data, and partition size, you may or may not be allowed to complete the conversion.
If you install x\p on a virgin disk, of over 32gig capacity, then windows will only give you the option to use the NTFS file system. There is an exception to this rule, in inasmuch, if you boot up with a win98se disk then format through this. This will then give you the option of using both NTFS file system or the FAT32 file system.
I do not know about the capabilities of partition magic, in respect of coverting ntfs to fat32, as I all ways muck up the disk when I use it.lol
To convert a ntfs disk back to fat32. I would use fdisk. Starting with option3- sub option4. Remove a non dos partition.Then continue as normal.
I would then format it from a windows 98 disk and the reinstall.